Australian insurance provider to the pharmaceutical industry Guild Group has tapped SXiQ and Macquarie Telecom to move into the Microsoft ecosystem to modernise its systems.

SXiQ migrated Guild to Azure from private cloud while providing improved DevOps capability and security, while MacTel transitioned the company from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams as the former’s support ends soon.

The Azure migration replaced Guild Group’s aging infrastructure, which the company said needed “significant capital investment” to maintain and keep current, and also held back the company from being able to scale effectively.

The platform also provided Guild a streamlined and “more modern” disaster recovery solution, reduced overall costs and an environment to support its core application, specialist insurance software platform Guideware.

SXiQ head of consulting and solution design Alistair Wilkinson said the key to a successful transition to Azure was to fully understand the dependencies that exist in current platforms, and also take the opportunity to undertake at least some operational modernisation during the process.

“We took the decision to move to infrastructure-as-code and microsegmentation with complex applications,” Wilkinson said.

“If the application hasn’t been really fully documented in terms of its API connectivities and integrations then it’s a lot of trial and error.”

The MSP also moved Guild’s business intelligence systems SAS and Tableau to Azure, as well as other apps, using a tranche by tranche-based shift to the platform to allow a steady ramp-up of internal capability and project pace while maintaining availability, security and integrity.

“Starting with the Guidewire application, when we had that implemented on premise or in a private cloud, on physical hardware, it didn’t really give us the flexibility that we needed.”

Meanwhile Guild engaged with Macquarie Telecom in a separate project to phase out Skype for Business in favour of Microsoft Teams.

“When Microsoft announced they were ending support for Skype for Business in light of their Teams strategy, our immediate need was to navigate the change while ensuring no interruption to our services. We also wanted to set our business up for the long-term with a simpler desktop experience and completely modernised network,” Latimer said.

Guild Group had previously worked with MacTel to implement SD-WAN and cloud-based communication services, before re-engaging in 2020.

MacTel brought Teams to the 100 contact centre agents in Guild Group’s insurance and superannuation businesses, enabling them to work from home during the COVID-19 restrictions implemented in 2020.

“Macquarie has supported us by facilitating a solution that has led to even greater collaboration and communication between our internal teams and external businesses,” Latimer added.

“The seamless transition has resulted in a significant digital upskilling of our staff and a considerable commercial cost saving.”

MacTel group executive Luke Clifton said the company’s relationship with Guild would enable a deeper dive into data collection and analysis to improve experiences for customers.

“The financial services sector is riding the wave of exponential data growth, collecting information from an expanding range of sources to develop even better products and services,” Clifton said.

“For example, the insurance industry is now calculating risk based on a wealth of customer information rather than 40-year-old demographic data, which provides a much fairer experience. Our technology and market-leading service with Guild Group will ensure it is in the best position to leverage these opportunities into the future.”

Katherine Bishop

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